If you’re like us, at some point you’ve probably looked in despair in the mirror and wondered, “Why is my skin blotchy?” It can be irritating at best and a little alarming at worst. It’s incredibly frustrating when our bodies aren’t acting the way we want them to, and skin is no exception. In all honesty, it can make you feel downright in a bad mood! Fortunately, there are solutions to blotchy skin that can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons.
A while ago we sat down with esthetician Jordana Mattioli to talk about how to get rid of puffiness under the eyes. We were amazed at how much we didn’t know and couldn’t wait to book another session to benefit from their vast expertise. As the leading NYC esthetician at Complete Skin MD, Mattioli has spent her career helping women love their skin, and over the years she has seen it all. Blotchy skin is a problem most of us have faced at some point, and some of us (ahem) have struggled our entire lives.
Read on for Mattioli’s tips on how to overcome blotchy skin and discover the even, healthy skin of your dreams.
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But first a little bit about Mattioli’s background, her skin type and the treatments she loves …
I got my Aesthetics License in 2001, but my passion for skin care began long before that. Having problem skin as a teenager and trying different medications really forced me to become aware of everything I was putting on my skin. (Mostly out of fear of “Will this break me out?”) I read everything I could get my hands on and experimented a lot on my own skin before I decided to go to aesthetic school. As a beautician, especially in a dermatological practice, I can work with many different skin types. This includes people of all ages and backgrounds with one goal in mind: better skin. There are many different types of problem solving that I love, but helping someone feel better is what motivates me.
Over the years I have become known for helping clients with skin problems, mostly acne. I don’t really have a particular area of passion; If it’s on your face, I’ll love it! My personal skin type is mostly oily, acne prone and sensitive – a tough combination! Getting rid of acne scars with laser treatments was life changing for me. Laser hair removal offers life changing treatments as I suffered from ingrown hairs and found waxing painful. Lasers in general have helped me tremendously. Cutting down on products was key for my skin too. I am shocked when I see recommendations for a 10-step routine. If you are one of the lucky few (emphasis on a few) who can put everything on their face and be okay, then great! Slather everything up if it makes you happy, but it’s not necessary. For most of us, just a few well-formulated products are more than enough.
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Okay, let’s get down to the topic: what causes blotchy skin anyway?
Red spots are caused by enlarged or broken blood vessels and capillaries, or general inflammation. All of these can be caused by sun damage, inflammation from certain products, excessive heat or cold, lifestyle habits, genetics, or a skin condition called rosacea.
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Does the sun exposure tend to make it better or worse?
Getting worse. Some may find that a tan camouflages its blotchiness, but that’s short-lived and temporary. They actually accumulate more long-term damage and increase your risk of skin cancer. Rosacea in particular flares up when exposed to sunlight.
What topical treatments do you find most effective for balancing blotchy skin?
If the persistent blotchy redness is caused by dilated or broken blood vessels, topical products won’t help – lasers are most effective. As part of your skin care routine, remove anything that can cause inflammation. Typically, customers let their skin care regimen be super simple for two weeks and then slowly add products back in to see if their skin reacts to certain ingredients. Common culprits for inflammation are most bar soaps, overpeelings, certain astringent alcohols, fragrances, or high levels of essential oils. I’m looking for simple formulas with tons of antioxidants, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and sedatives.
6 habits and practices that can help with blotchy skin
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1. Start with clean skin.
Wash yourself with a gentle cleanser every morning and night to remove all dirt, sweat, sunscreen, makeup, allergens, and bacteria from your skin. Leaving this enabled can lead to further irritation and a host of other problems!
2. Avoid saunas, steam, and excessively hot or cold environments.
Drastic temperatures can accentuate the spots in our skin. Simply regulating your surroundings in terms of temperature can really help keep skin tone even.
3. Simplify your skin care routine.
Use gentle products as a basic routine and slowly add all the active ingredients (like acids and retinol) to avoid staining.
4. Drink more water.
Staying hydrated is imperative – even the slightest amount of dehydration will have a negative impact on your skin.
5. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants.
Anti-inflammatory foods that are high in antioxidants make a world of difference. Think vegetables, nuts, fruits, whole grains, and even green tea. Mattioli also recommends taking certain dietary supplements such as omegas.
6. Reduce the alcohol content.
Alcohol is a major contributor to blotchiness as it increases blood pressure and causes blood vessels to expand.
This post was originally published on September 12, 2017 and has been updated since then.